It feels like an itch sometimes. Like I can never think of living any other way. Like I can never think of looking the other way, as stories, characters and worlds keep coming up in my head. I had to, it just had to happen someday, I guess.
I think, to find the real reason as to why I chose to become a writer, I’ll have to trace my steps back to my childhood.
As a child, did I ever look forward to that letter from Hogwarts? Yes.
Did I ever feel like Peter Pan would knock on my window to take me to Neverland? Maybe, when I was too little.
Did I ever believe Santa Clause was real? No – that’s a stretch 😀
But, anyway, from a young age, I was immersed in the world of storytelling. I would finish entire series of books in a matter of weeks, be it Enid Blyton’s works, most of which I finished before I turned 10, or be it the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Leo Tolstoy at a later age. Stories, cinema and art formed a crucial part of my childhood.
Honestly, I was an introvert in school, though I still kind of am. Being away from the crowd, not making efforts to be amidst the ‘cool ones’, actually helped me later. I started fostering my creativity from a very young age: observing, writing, then observing, and then writing.
A decade later, I was sitting inside my office cubicle. It was four in the morning and I had just finished an important work assignment. Sitting there, rocking in my chair, I got the same feeling, that itch. The work that I was doing was fine, it was good, and I was happy. But there was something missing in my life. I needed to quell that thirst to tell stories, that thirst that I used to feel as a child.
I tried my hand at filmmaking first, because I felt that films are the most prominent form of storytelling in the age that we live in. But it didn’t go as planned. Maybe, it was too soon. Maybe, I needed something more basic, more inherent to me and something which was always within me and nobody could take it away. And that was writing.
A couple of things helped me along the way. One was a reading of ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand, the magnum opus on individualism and following one’s passion, according to me. And the second was the words of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock.
“To make a great film, you need three things – script, script and script.”
And that was it. That was all I needed. To unravel in that moment, the moment when you get to know one of the most fundamental truths about yourself and your path automatically lights up in front you – I need to sit down and write my own stories.
I didn’t need anybody to tell me what to do, though, the people I met along the way did help me learn and grow. I didn’t need to see any one of those hundreds of motivation videos on the internet to get motivated (although the late Chadwick Boseman’s speech about finding your purpose and JKR’s Harvard Commencement Address of ’08 did help me stay motivated).
But, at the end of the day, it was all inside of me. I will try to put it in one straight line – sometimes, our dreams, our aspirations, our purpose(s) feel too big inside our head and our heart that we just give up without even trying. It’s like our brains kickstart out bodies’ internal defense mechanism into not dealing with ideas so big, because, of course, one of the side effects would be that we would start overthinking.
But we have to fight that. We have to find that moment, our moment.
I’m going to tell you all one thing. There’s a time in our precious little lives when you just decide. Everything else becomes background noise. You just make the move and strive to become the best version of yourself. For me, it was getting to tell my own stories. And I had to start working towards that straightaway.
For me, it happened when I was already 25. But it happened. That’s all that matters. And the rest, as they say, is history.